Whether your brand new fitness plan is part of your New Year’s Day resolutions, or a new goal you have set for yourself for the future, you probably know that the most difficult part is making the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle and more importantly – sticking to it.
In fact, a survey by Statistic Brain Research Institute show that less than 9% of the people actually end up keeping their resolution for the New Year and to pursuing their newly set fitness goals.
The problems with staying true to your plans for exercising, running or otherwise getting fitter range from a lack of motivation, procrastination, bad time management, loss of interest, lack of self-confidence and a bunch of other reasons.
So, if you are really willing to stick to your latest fitness related goals, here are some tips on avoiding deviating from it or giving it up entirely along the way:
Be realistic about your fitness goals
Yes, we all want to be healthy, fit and look great, but if you are used to leading a sedentary lifestyle, eating processed or fast food and hardly do any physical activities, it is not realistic to set a goal to run a marathon in just a couple of months after you first start running. Also, if you are obese – setting a short term goal of losing 50% of your body weight in a few months is not only unrealistic, but can also be dangerous for your health and wellbeing. It is important that you know what your current body and fitness condition is and to set your long term goals accordingly. This will save you from overtraining and hurting yourself, as well as from huge disappointments when you realize that you cannot achieve what you have planned in the time you intended. Set S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and timebound) goals and stick to them.
Set smaller, measurable benchmarks along the way to your final goal
Once you have set your long-term goal, such as getting ready for running a half marathon in a year’s time, you should break down the time in between into smaller goals, which will gradually bring you to the main one. By creating a monthly or weekly training program, you are actually able to track your progress in real time, and analyze your performance and your improvement along the way. By working towards achieving your smaller goals, you will feel much more motivated to move on to the next one once you succeed with the preceding goal. As you go on planning the next months, you should increase the intensity of your workout programs, the distance or time for running or for any other activity. Gradually, your body will start getting into shape and you will be able to enhance your performance and achieve more when training.
Define and be clear about your reason for starting and sticking to this fitness program
Whether it is because you want to lose the extra weight, you want to improve a health condition, you want to help fight stress or depression, you want to improve your social communications or you want to boost your self-confidence, it is always much better if you know exactly what you are striving for. Define and write down your reasons for wanting to achieve your fitness goals, and remind yourself of them from time to time. This will definitely help you stay motivated and appreciate the effort and the improvements which you achieve along the way to your final goals.
Find fitness buddies or join a fitness or running group
Not only will your workouts be much more fun when you have company, but being part of a training group is a responsibility you are more likely to stick to. If you know that other people are waiting for you or even relying on you, you will feel compelled to grab that gym bag or put the running shoes on and go out for your daily exercise program. Plus, you can improve your social communication skills, find new friends, and actually really enjoy your daily runs or workouts with these people!
Buy some nice workout shoes, clothes and gear
If you spend money on getting some great looking running or other sports clothes, shoes or other gear such as crossfit gloves or something as small as ankle weights for example, you will feel much happier when you go out for your workout or run. Plus, the fact that you have spent considerable amounts of money on the apparel will make you continue working out and will help you feel obliged to stay true to your fitness schedule.
Eat a balanced diet
As you progress with your exercise regimen, you will start feeling and seeing the changes in your body. You will lose weight. Your body will become more toned and you will feel much more energized and happy about yourself. Knowing that all the hard work you put into this transformation can quickly be unraveled by going home and eating a bunch of snacks and junk food will help you stay away from this type of food. Instead, when you combine a healthy and balanced diet with your physical exercises you will see the results much faster and you will feel much better pretty soon. This is the best kind of motivation you need so that you stay faithful to your fitness program.
Many of us get bored by going to the gym every day and doing the same old exercises over and over again. This is why, you should resort to different types of workouts and sports, so that you stay interested along the way. Try making a training program which includes a variety of different exercises and sports, which suit your preferences and which can help you achieve your ultimate fitness related goals. Cross training is an excellent way to ensure that you work on the different muscles, joints and tendons of your body. You can do some strength exercises today, then exercise your flexibility on the next day with some Yoga, and then run, swim or cycle for several miles on the next day. By combining various types of exercises, you are bound to get fitter faster, and you will definitely not be bored.
Keep track of your progress
Get a fitness wearable device to track your daily progress. Analyze the results at the end of the day or at the end of the week. Most modern fitness apps will provide you with data in regard to your current progress, your overall improvement, as well as with suggestions for performing even better. In case you are a more traditional person, you can choose to track your progress in a fitness diary. Write down how much you have exercised, the types of fitness activities you have engaged in, the progress you have made, your BMI count, the weight or inches you have lost, as well as how you are doing in accordance with your benchmarks and your long-term goal. By writing all this down, you will be able to actually “see” your improvement which is an amazingly motivating experience.
Reward yourself accordingly
Always reward yourself with something nice as soon as you reach your next benchmark or smaller goal from your fitness plan. If you decide to reward yourself with a treat to eat – don’t overdo it – you don’t want to stop or ruin your progress! Instead you can pamper yourself by buying new clothes, an accessory, or by spending some relax time in a SPA or enjoying other fun activities of your liking.
Be ready to forgive yourself for taking a few days off
If you have hit a plateau, or really feel that you need to take a brief break from your training schedule – then do it. Don’t beat yourself up for getting some rest, but just make sure that the break is only temporary and that you get back to your fitness plan so that you can move ahead towards accomplishing your goals!
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